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THE FIRST SIX BOOKS, AND THE PORTIONS OF
READ AT CAMBRIDGE,
CIIIEFLY FROM THE TEXT OF DR. SIMSON,
WITH EXPLANATORY NOTES ;
A SERIES OF QUESTIONS ON EACH BOOK ;
AND A SELECTION OF GEOMETRICAL EXERCISES FROM THE SENATE-HOUSE AND COLLEGE EXAMINATION
PAPERS; WITH HINTS, &c.
DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF THE JUNIOR CLASSES IN PUBLIC AND
ROBERT POTTS, M.A.,
CORRECTED AND IMPROVED.
LONDON: LONGMAN, GREEN, LONGMAN, ROBERTS, AND GREEN.
A Medal has been awarded to R. Potts, “For the excellence of his Works on Geometry.”
Jury Awards, Class xxix, p. 313.
SOME time after the publication of an Octavo Edition of Euclid's Elements with Geometrical Exercises, &c., designed for the use of Academical Students ; at the request of some schoolmasters of eminence, a duodecimo Edition of the Six Books was put forth on the same plan for the use of Schools. Soon after its appearance, Professor Christie, the Secretary of the Royal Society, in the Preface to his Treatise on Descriptive Geometry for the use of the Royal Military Academy, was pleased to notice these works in the following terms :“When the greater Portion of this part of the Course was printed, and had for some time been in use in the Academy, a new Edition of Euclid's Elements, by Mr. Robert Potts, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, which is likely to supersede most others, to the extent, at least, of the Six Books, was published. From the manner of arranging the Demonstrations, this edition has the advantages of the symbolical form, and it is at the same time free from the manifold objections to which that form is open. The duodecimo edition of this Work, comprising only the first Six Books of Euclid, with Deductions from them, having been introduced at this Institution as a text-book, now renders any other Treatise on Plane Geometry unnecessary in our course of Mathematics.”
For the very favourable reception which both Editions have met with, the Editor's grateful acknowledgements are due. It has been his desire in putting forth a revised Edition of the School Euclid, to render the work in some degree more worthy of the favour which the former editions have received. In the present Edition several errors and oversights have been corrected and some additions made to the notes: the questions on each book have been considerably augmented and a better arrangement of the Geometrical Exercises has been attempted: and lastly, some hints and remarks on them have been given to assist the learner. The additions made to the present Edition amount to more than fifty pages, and, it is hoped, that they will render the work more useful to the learner.
And here an occasion may be taken to quote the opinions of some able men respecting the use and importance of the Mathematical Sciences.
On the subject of Education in its most extensive sense, an ancient writer “directs the aspirant after excellence to commence with the Science of Moral Culture; to proceed next to Logic; next to Mathematics; next to Physics; and lastly, to Theology.” Another writer on Education would place Mathematics before Logic, which (he remarks) seems the preferable course: for by practising itself in the
former, the mind becomes stored with distinctions; the faculties of constancy and firmness are established; and its rule is always to distinguish between cavilling and investigation – between close reasoning and cross reasoning; for the contrary of all which habits, those are for the most part noted, who apply themselves to Logic without studying in some department of Mathematics; taking noise and wrangling for proficiency, and thinking refutation accomplished by the instancing of a doubt. This will explain the inscription placed by Plato over the door of his house: Whoso knows not Geometry, let him not enter here.' On the precedence of Moral Culture, however, to all the other Sciences, the acknowledgement is general, and the agreement entire.” 'The same writer recommends the study of the Mathematics, for the cure of "compound ignorance.” “Of this,” he proceeds to say, “ the essence is opinion not agreeable to fact; and it necessarily involves another opinion, namely, that we are already possessed of knowledge. So that besides not knowing, we know not that we know not; and hence its designation of compound ignorance. In like manner, as of many chronic complaints and established maladies, no cure can be effected by physicians of the body: of this, no cure can be effected by physicians of the mind: for with a pre-supposal of knowledge in our own regard, the pursuit and acquirement of further knowledge is not to be looked for. The approximate cure, and one from which in the main much benefit may be anticipated, is to engage the patient in the study of measures (Geometry, computation, &c.); for in such pursuits the true and the false are separated by the clearest interval, and no room is left for the intrusions of fancy. From these the mind may discover the delight of certainty; and when, on returning to his own opinions, it finds in them no such sort of repose and gratification, it may discover their erroneous character, its ignorance may become simple, and a capacity for the acquirement of truth and virtue be obtained."
Lord Bacon, the founder of Inductive Philosophy, was not insensible of the high importance of the Mathematical Sciences, as appears in the following passage from his work on “ The Advancement of Learning.”
“ The Mathematics are either pure or mixed. To the pure Mathematics are those sciences belonging which handle quantity determinate, merely severed from any axioms of natural philosophy; and these are two, Geometry, and Arithmetic; the one handling quantity continued, and the other dissevered. Mixed hath for subject some axioms or parts of natural philosophy, and considereth quantity determined, as it is auxiliary and incident unto them. For many parts of nature can